How Long, O Lord? Reflections On Psalm 13

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This morning my brother was preaching at church and the text he selected to speak on was Psalm 13. I hadn’t read it in a long time and going through it today was very timely and refreshing.

I have much more appreciation today for this Psalm and others like it in which the writer expresses the anguish he feels in the midst of hardship and directs it towards God. An immature view of the strong language used in the Psalm would be that David is being bold and arrogant, and towards God directly at that. But for someone who has experienced difficult and challenging times in their life it’s a perfect expression for what they were feeling. I think it also shows that God welcomes and encourages us to air out those emotions to Him. If you read carefully then you can see that David has not in complete despair even though he’s crying out.

What I love about this Psalm and others is that as you think it’s only going to get worse that it suddenly changes, as if David’s spirits are being lifted as he’s singing about his sorrows. His prayer is being answered as he’s saying it and hope starts to come back again as He’s singing God’s praises.

As I was just writing that last sentence I’m reminded of a musician I saw in an interview saying the same thing about blues music. He gave an example of a song in which he’s singing about a lost love and how life isn’t worth living anymore and then he suddenly comes to his sense again and finds a reason to hope for the future.

The sad thing is people who don’t read the Bible don’t even know about all of these literary gems buried in its pages.

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